October 4, 2022
"Changing Lives, Improving Communities"

School Spotlight: La Salle Academy (RI)

La Salle Academy is a Catholic college preparatory high school located in Providence, Rhode Island. On the corners of Smith street and Academy avenue in downtown Providence, sits the historic La Salle Academy building. La Salle is a division I (D-1) football program. In the Rhode Island Interscholastic League (RIIL), D-1 is the highest division across four divisions. he La Salle Academy Rams are led by coach Geoffrey Marcone, who has been at the helm of the Rams football program since 2004. Last season, coach Marcone led the Rams to a 7-4 season, going 6-0 in their division games. The Rams fell short in the state championship game losing to their rivals, Bishop Hendricken 49-40. While they lost a couple senior players to graduation, the Rams are looking to bounce back strong after winning their season opener against Curtis high school in Staten Island, New York. In this week’s school spotlight, I had the great opportunity to speak with my former high school football coach as we got the chance to catch up, talk about the team and their remaining schedule after a 1-0 start to the season. 

One of the first things I asked coach Marcone was, what is he most excited about with this team, he replied that, “I’ve been telling these guys all year that they’re a special group. There’s a lot of speed, we are very fast and there’s a lot of athletic ability. We’re not as big as some teams but we are really fast and athletic. I think for us, we’re excited about seeing what our guys can do and they are playing together, which is really important. I’m just excited to see them go out there and play the way they’re capable of playing. I think if they do that they’re putting themselves, this team, and this program in a great position to do some really great things.

The Rams have a tough opponent this weekend, as they are going up against a good Catholic Memorial team out of West Roxbury, Massachusetts. I asked coach Marcone how feels about the game this weekend and the opportunity to play against some out-of -state competition, he answered, “Look what we have been telling them is, anything in life, you just want an opportunity. You want an opportunity to compete against the best people to see where your at. Right now, they are ranked number one in Massachusetts. (according to Maxpreps) That’s a great opportunity for us. We’re from Rhode Island, we’re a smaller state, a smaller school. We got an opportunity to go out there and play these guys at a high level because they are going to play at a high level, and we’ll see what we’re really made of. Last year, we played them in a really tight game for 3-3 ½ quarters and they started to pull away at the end. But we hung in there with them and we had some guys out in that game. We’re just excited for an opportunity to compete against a really good football program and see where we are at. It also gets us ready for our in-state games.

Further into the conversation, I asked coach about their out-of-state opponents and how much these games help when it comes to in-state play? Coach Marcone stated, “ Yeah, about 10-15 years ago we started playing teams out of state. It started with Bishop Feehan, Bridgewater-Rayham and we found out right away that these games really get us ready for our in-state games. Then, we started going to New York and playing teams like King Philip, which is another really strong team out of Massachusetts. We’re finding that these teams are really getting us ready for our in-state season because there are some good teams in Rhode Island. If you’re not ready to play, you can get shocked and beat by some of these teams. We just want to be ready. We want to be battle-tested and these games get us battle-tested”.

Lastly, here are some of the players we talked about during our conversation.

Jamezell Lassiter is a class of 2023 running back. Coach commented “Jamezell is a special player. A really great player. A great football player but more importantly he’s a great student. He’s got Navy, Brown, Army offers, you don’t get those looks without getting it done in the classroom. Even in the building, he leads by example. He’s a high character, a high integrity guy”. 

Dean Varrecchione is a class of 2023 quarterback. Coach Marcone said that, “He’s more of a quiet leader. What he does is a little bit different. He says hi to every kid on the team everyday. He fist-bumps, says hello and has a conversation with everyone on the team before practice starts. He brings something different . 

Max Ayotte is a class of 2023 offensive tackle. “Max is a senior captain lineman for us. He’s the guy that tries to hold everybody accountable on the field because he works at a very high level. So, his standard is really high and he wants everyone to work at his standard”. – (Coach Marcone)

Alejandro Taylor is a class of 2023 defensive tackle. “We got another kid, Alejandro Taylor, who only knows one speed and that is 100 mph in every thing he does, and that filters through to everybody”. – (Coach Marcone)

Terrence Campbell is a class of 2025 running back. “He actually came up last year at the end of the year as ninth grader. He played in a couple varsity games and held his own. This year, we made him earn it, but we knew that he was good enough to be a starter on the team and now he’s starting. Jamezell got a little dinged up, he came in and did a great job last game. When his number got called, he didn’t flinch. He’s one of the special guys we have and we’re excited about the future for him too”. – (Coach Marcone) 

Brady Fisher and Chase Gouvin are both class of 2023 wide receivers. Coach Marcone said that, “They are national sprint relay champs. They finished sixth in nationals I think. So, their speed on the field is pretty impressive. They work extremely hard and I think the best thing about those two guys is they’re straight team guys. They are skilled guys and they never complain about getting or not getting the ball. They just go out there, play football and they do a really good job. 

Click here to see the Rams’ remaining schedule

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